How to Host a Rehearsal Dinner

Feb 03, 2020 | Planning

Just when you think you have every detail of your wedding accounted for, you realize you haven't given too much thought to the rehearsal dinner! Don't worry, we've got plenty of rehearsal dinner ideas from Orange Photographie and Greenwood Events today plus all the finer details about the event itself.

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Your sole purpose might be wedding planning right now, but don't forget about rehearsal dinner planning too. The night before your wedding should be about—you guessed it—rehearsing, but also about greeting your guests, giving everyone a taste of what they can expect for the rest of the weekend, and simply celebrating your love in a comfortable, relaxed setting.

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Essentially, a dreamy rehearsal dinner is the perfect way to kick off your weekend (and sport an amazing outfit too). Read on for all of the answers to your biggest rehearsal dinner inquiries, below.

1. What actually is the rehearsal dinner?

It's a dinner traditionally held the night before the wedding, often on a Friday, and usually starts around dinnertime (to leave time for attendants to get there from work). For a Sunday or holiday wedding, you have more options. Since the rehearsal dinner has become more of a celebration in its own right than just a formality, some couples choose to hold the event two nights before the wedding. This way, there's more time to relax, recuperate and get ready for the main event. If most attendants won't be arriving until late on the eve of your wedding, a breakfast celebration the morning of the wedding can be a fabulous alternative. And, of course, skipping the rehearsal meal altogether is perfectly acceptable (sometimes there's just no way to fit it all in).

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2. What is it for?

The rehearsal dinner is a great opportunity for your two families to spend time together before the wedding day in a slightly less hectic setting. Take advantage of the relaxed environment, full of happy anticipation—come wedding night, you'll most likely be pulled in too many directions to put in quality time with anyone. The ultimate goal is to relieve some pre-wedding tension and make everyone feel comfortable with the upcoming nuptials, while not upstaging the main event.

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3. Who hosts it?

Traditionally, the groom's family organizes and pays for the party, but you two can definitely take matters into your own hands—or both sets of parents may choose to share responsibility. While you as the honored couple may have input on the overall direction, if your future in-laws host, you should hand over the title of creative directors to them as much as you can. On the other hand, if you're hosting, you get to make the decisions. So you'll want to give yourselves enough time to scout venues in order to book one four to six months in advance.

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4. Who do I have to invite?

At the very least, the rehearsal dinner guest list includes your immediate families, wedding party members and their spouses or significant others, and the parents of any child attendants (inviting the children themselves is up to you). You should also invite the officiant and his or her spouse to the dinner—they may not come, but it's a polite and generous gesture to offer.

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From photographers, Orange Photographie: "Montana is often called “The Last Best Place” and it’s easy to understand why; its unspoiled landscape of majestic mountains, flowing rivers, and that legendary “Big Sky” have long attracted trailblazers, dreamers, and people who march to the beat of their own heart. In this spirit of adventure, Samantha & Reid of Orange Photographie hosted The Montana Workshop for wedding photographers. In true Montana style, we welcomed attendees to spend 3 days with us surrounded by some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, during which we elevated their photography skills, helped them refine their style, took their businesses and brands to new heights, and created editorials meant to resemble an actual Montana wedding. We partnered Greenwood Events, who joined us as workshop designer and florist and created beautiful Montana wedding shoots for our attendees to fill their portfolio."

vendor details

Photographer: Orange Photographie | Film Lab: Big Sky Film Lab | Stylist / Planner: Greenwood Events | Floral Designer: Greenwood Events | Dress Designer: Costarellos | Tabletop Rentals: The TOP | Accessories: J. Crew | Venue: Foster Creek Farm | Cake Designer: Buttercream Cake Design Co. | Hair & Make-up Artist: Ethereal Hair & Makeup Artistry | Menswear: The Black Tux | Styling Mat: Locust Collection | Furniture Rentals: Tailor & Tied | Wardrobe Styling: Gabrielle Hurwitz | Linens: La Tavola | Stationery: West Pasture Studio

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